You may've seen, in recent months, coverage on a young man by the name of Mike Melinoe. The Detroit native ended up on my desk with "Addict Venture," a lyrically trippy track which detailed a drug trip-meets-bars adventure of sorts. From there, I was excited to listen to his Caveman project, which didn't disappoint. But, instead of just hearing me speak about his work, I figured I should let Mike tell the SOTB.com faithful (all tree of y'all) a bit more about himself. The following is an interview we conducted on his origin, the process behind Caveman, and more.
Speed: How’d you get your start in music? Do you have any interesting growing pains stories
Mike: Well, music has naturally played a part in my life. My parents were very musically influential to me; My mother sang in a choir and my biological father plays the piano. Jazz was the first genre that I embraced. The sounds of each instrument tell a small story individually and deliver feelings to the human body that’s unexplainable.
Personally, I started being involved in music by singing in a choir and playing the violin in school. I first started paying attention to rap when the Hot Boyz flourished. I had that bad older cousin that babysat me and my siblings--which led to hearing a lot of loud rap music (laughs). After high school was when I truly took music seriously. I wrote a lot during middle and high school but that shit was trash. The rest is history, I guess.
Speed: Growing up, who’d you look up to, musically and otherwise?
Mike: Well I looked up to my older cousin, Mark. He was like a big brother to me. Mark was fearless and more confident at anything possible. I learned a lot from him--he taught me how to talk to girls and he was the first artist I had ever seen record. Dude’s a GOAT. Musically, I would say Michael Jackson, Andre 3k, Big L, David Ruffin, and MF DOOM.
Speed: If you had to describe what you do in three words, what would they be and why?
Mike: Remaining A Genius. I believe that everyone on Earth is a genius. We are all capable of being or creating greatness. That’s how I see it. We are all geniuses.
Speed: Walk me through the creative process when it comes to your music. Spare no detail.
Mike: Well, it depends. For an album it can take weeks to write and record but months or even years of experience, growth, and pain to finalize a concept or vision. Lately however, I've been writing quickly as fuck. As my view of the world expands daily, I can find more and more inspiration in things. I can produce and write a song in a matter of minutes now. I’m working on some music and just trying to remain patient and free. My pace isn't rushed.
Speed: If you weren’t doing music, where do you think you’d be at the moment?
Mike: Honestly, I would be a designer or a stylist for maybe YoAstrum (laughs). I don't know, it’s hard to answer. At one time I was thinking sports--I ran track and played football in high school. But when I tried to play for my college’s team, they said I was too small. It was sad (laughs).
Speed: So, where did Caveman come from?
Mike: Over the past three years I've been dealing with drug use, depression, and pain a lot and I became a loner. Good came out of secluding myself while battling to become better. I stayed in my bedroom--a/k/a my cave--a large majority of the time while trying to figure things things out in my life. The music of Caveman was the story of my evolution from that point forward. I was a caveman, starting with a blank canvas, ready to relearn and rediscover life.
Speed: What were some of your favorite tracks off the project?
Mike: “DLOG TAOG,” “Nightmares,” “Addict Venture” & “Universal Aspirations.”
Speed: Working with other artists or solo work? Which one do you prefer and why?
Mike: Both. Having creatives in the room or in the conversations is very important. It makes you think outside the box. It’s important to surround yourself with people who will bring out the best in you. Making music individually is also very important to me too, though.
Speed: Do you have anything else in the works, or are you going to step back for a bit and let Caveman simmer some more?
Mike: Hell yes, I have a ton of content coming. People would be surprised cause I very rarely release music, but I thought it was time for everyone to hear it. These songs are going to alter my life.
Speed: Who are some artists you wouldn't mind collaborating with?
Mike: Solange, Chance The Rapper, Travis Scott, Kanye, Mick Jenkins and others. The list can go on for days...but I would never want to work with someone until we build and find common interests, even if that’s other than music. Also it’s possible that anyone I name could potentially hate my music, so it’s weird to think about (laughs).
Speed: If you had to be stranded in a post-apocalyptic world with only a few albums, which albums would you bring to share with the brave new world?
Miles: The Lady Killer by Cee Lo Green, The Best Of Miles Davis, Love by Sade, and Baduizm by the lovely queen Erykah Badu.
Speed: Outside of music, what are some things you like to get into?
Mike: Photography, graphic design, playing 2K or Call of Duty and a bunch of other normal shit. I really like to keep things random. I love eating though--especially breakfast! Pancakes, eggs, and turkey bacon is life.
Speed: See man, now you got me craving breakfast food. But, while we’re all growing, what advice would you give to fellow up-and-coming artists?
Mike: Be patient, work hard, stay dedicated, and surround yourself around kings and queens who have monumental intentions and aspirations to succeed. This hasn’t been easy for me and Organic Geniuses at all, but the growth is what I enjoy the most.
Speed: So, finally...where can people reach out to you?
Mike: GoldAintCheap.com That’s where I live.
Stream Caveman below via Spotify and be sure to purchase it via Apple Music (since, you know, buying albums is still a thing).